What does Geertz mean by calling anthropology an interpretative or semiotic theory of culture?

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The short answer to this question can be found in the title of the collection of essays being referenced, The Interpretation of Culture. Geertz argued that culture was basically like an idiom, or a language, within which human actions could make sense. Thus human actions or behaviors were signs and symbols that could be understood in the context of a specific culture. But they could also be used to understand the culture itself. Semiotics refers to the interpretation of signs and symbols, and in the introduction to The Interpretation of Culture, he writes explicitly that his view of culture is semiotic:

The concept of culture I espouse . . . is a semiotic one. Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be one of those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law, but an interpretive one in search of meaning. It is explication I am after, construing...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 497 words.)

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